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Remembering Tom Wolfe, American writer with an 'anthropologist's delight'
16 May 2018, 12:39 | Floyd Cook
Tom Wolfe, Star Journalist and Author of 'The Right Stuff,' Dies at 87
Tom Wolfe, legendary fiction and nonfiction author who wrote era-defining books Bonfire of the Vanities and Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, has died at the age of 88.
The author and journalist will be remembered as a pioneer of New Journalism, a style of news writing developed in the 1960s and 1970s. The news was announced by Wolfe's long-time agent Lynn Nesbit. One summer Wolfe had a white suit made, but it was too warm, so he wore it in December and found that it "really irritated people -- I had hit upon this harmless form of aggression". He later left for Washington, then New York, arriving there in 1962 to work for The New York Herald Tribune.
Wolfe covered a range of topics in his prose, from Ken Kesey and the Beat Generation in the 1968 nonfiction book "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" to Cuban immigrants in Miami in 2012 novel "Back to Blood". John Irving angrily denounced Wolfe by saying, "I can't read him because he's such a bad writer".
Despite earning a Ph.D., Wolfe set out on a career in journalism, working as a reporter at the Springfield Union in MA and later at The Washington Post.
Quickly developing an unconventional style, he was much-recognised for his work, winning an award from The Newspaper Guild for foreign reporting in Cuba in 1961 and also scooping the Guild's award for humour.
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